**A/N: This is the sequel to my story Fallout. If you haven't read it, this might not make sense for you. Also, please note it is rated M for a reason.**
Old Fires Were Burning
Forbidden. It's just a word. I never respond well to any words that insinuate I can't do something. I tried to remember this every day as it applied to my current situation. It was the term used when he spoke about any possibilities of solitary contact with Jasper. I couldn't really blame him. Nor could I blame Alice, she'd been on the other side of the window with Edward when things between Jasper and I had somehow gone haywire.
So I did all I could to follow the new rules, which had been set for me. Jasper and I, both conscientiously avoided each other. If he walked into the kitchen and found me sitting at the table having something to eat, it was always "Hey Bella." "Hey Jasper" and then the sound of whistling wind as he disappeared. The reverse was also true, if I happened into Carlisle's study in search of books, and found Jasper in there, I made a hasty getaway after brief harmless small talk.
I was being very cautious about keeping my mind off Jasper; I made every effort to push the memory of what had passed out of my mind. I knew that dwelling on that time was definitely not somewhere I needed to be.
Edward was still maintaining his safe distance from me, the issue, which had caused the problem in the first place. We never kissed indiscreetly. No superfluous contact between our persons. I was fine with that. I still responded far too excitedly for Edwards's preference the few times he allowed our lips to linger in rare private moments. But he was trying to protect me, protect his brother, be considerate of his sister and meanwhile he was becoming very unpleasant.
Edward was watching me get ready. I was doing nothing more than brushing my hair, and talking to him. I asked him a question about whether or not we were going to have time to stop by Charlie's on our way to Port Angeles to do some gift returns.
The inherent problem with marrying a vampire and intending to become one yourself is that it negates a lot of the presents which people buy you in their ignorance. Being someone who preferred not receiving gifts in the first place, returns were a new form of torture I wasn't comfortable with. Alice was busy keeping Jasper away from the house these days, so Edward was lucky enough to get the task of going on my gift-returning trip.
"Edward?" I looked back to find him looking at me with a strange expression on his face, and his black eyes appraising me. As I said his name again, his head suddenly snapped up and his eyes connected with mine. Desire was lurking fairly plainly in them.
As always that look brought out a response in me. My heartbeats went double time, and I could practically taste the adrenaline coursing through my veins. My face flushed and Edward crossed the floor to me. He took my face in his hands cautiously, and let his lips crush mine just the tiniest bit, reaching behind me with one hand he pulled me in so close against him that had I been breathing I might have had to stop from the pain of the pressure.
The fingers pressing me against him tangled themselves in a tuft of my hair, and he pulled down on it, pulling my head back as he did so. As this exposed my neck he kissed my cheek, then my neck just under my jaw line, and then he kissed across the tendon on my neck. Now, not only was I not breathing, my heart had forgotten to beat twice in the last 15 seconds. He pulled himself away, careful not to seem as though he were pushing me and hissed out a gasp. His eyes were so full of wanting me that I nearly staggered.
"Bella, I'm going to go outside for a walk for a moment. Try to be ready to leave when I come back in." I nodded, surprised by his inability to walk as smoothly as he normally did towards the door.
I went back to brushing my hair. I brushed my teeth and was just putting the water glass down on the sink when I knocked the brush off onto the floor. For some reason I tried to do both at once, set the glass down and pick up the brush. I managed to hit the side of the glass on the sink instead of the bottom. It exploded in my hand. I gasped as it happened, and then tried to remember if anyone was home.
Living in a house of vampires made bloodletting a definite negative. I heard a horrible scuffling sound, bangs and crashes outside the bedroom door. I did three things fairly quickly, and was surprised by my ability to accomplish them. Especially in light of the calamitous sounds coming from the hallway.
I grabbed a bottle of alcohol out of the medicine cabinet, grabbed a towel for cleaning, while shutting and locking the bathroom door. I grabbed the towel, poured copious amounts of alcohol on it, wiped up the blood on the sink, and then wrapped it around my hand. I could hear vicious snarls, and growls. Edward's voice yelled as well.
From the medicine cabinet, I retrieved the bottle of the same brown liquid Carlisle had swabbed – which I had since learned was mercurochrome - on my cut arm following stitching it, on that fateful birthday two years before. I put a band-aid over it, thanking the sky that it was only a small cut, dumped all the stones in a decorative glass bowl Alice had put in the bathroom when I moved in (to feminize it as she put it) out into the sink, dropped the towel and the water glass into the bowl and swiftly grabbed the lighter I kept in the drawer for just such an event, and lit it on fire. As the door splintered in and I sidestepped the flying wood by falling into the shower through its open door, the towel was flaming nicely. I looked up to see Jasper standing there.
Bloodlust was on his face, but Edward and Emmett were wrestling him. They had him around the waist. The smell of the burning towel struck Jasper and he began to relax. He looked at the towel, the broken glass, and then looked at me. I was lying on the floor of the shower, my feet hanging out of the door and all together, very awkward. I propped myself up onto my elbows with a slightly teasing smirk and said, "Hello Jasper, afraid I can't offer you anything to drink. I've just broken my only glass." Jasper's eyes, already quelling from the smell of the smoke, calmed entirely, and he raised an eyebrow and laughed.
I could tell by the fact that Jasper stood of his own accord, instead of fighting against Edward and Emmett's arms that the danger was over. Emmett and Edward joined in the laughter, and were making jokes about event in the bedroom. Jasper and I looked at each other and both of our smiles faded. Jasper looked at the floor for a moment, "Again! Damn it, why don't I have control? I'm sorry Bella."
I looked at him with a plain look of incredulity, "You! I'm the one who can't keep her fluids to herself." Jasper smirked again, and reached a hand out to help me up. I noticed his nostrils pinch again as I stood, probably my human scent blowing towards him as I came up. I stood just in front of him, he still held my hand in his.
Our eyes locked, and for a moment, I felt desire wash over me. Was it his or mine? Jasper's eyes filled with a different hunger, and he breathed in suddenly. He closed his eyes, and dropped my hand. Just before he turned to walk out, he leaned towards me again; he inhaled and looked me straight in the eyes. In that husky toned voice I hadn't heard since our surprise night together, he said, "Bella." It was just above a whisper, it struck me as if he'd shouted it at me, I shuddered, and Jasper turned to walk back out again.
I inhaled deeply and ran a hand through my hair trying to collect myself. I looked in the mirror and saw I was blushing profusely. I turned on the faucet, put cool water in my hands and splashed it across my traitorous cheeks.
How was this fair? I not only had one man driving me insane with his sudden desires, but now there were two! I really was going to spontaneously combust before I was safe from Edward's caution.
Emmett and Edward were still in the bedroom talking about what had happened. Edward stepped into the doorway, "Are you hurt Bella? What did you do?" he asked, looking at the bowl.
I showed him the broken glass, and explained what I'd done. "I'm sorry about the door Edward, I keep forgetting how strong your family is, I thought the door would buy me some precious time."
Edward grinned, "Oh it did. It blocked the strength of the smell from him, which was fortunate."
Emmett's large profile filled the doorway, "Hey little sister, still unbitten, eh?"
"Yah, you know, off day. What can I say?" I joked.
Emmett laughed, "It sure is great having you here, Bella. You keep things interesting."
I chuckled, "Well, Life With the Cullen's wouldn't work as a sitcom, that's for sure. Action/thriller perhaps, but not a sitcom."
Emmett walked out laughing, and Edward turned around to smile at me." Do you think you might be safe long enough for me to go back downstairs again? I was making some notes when I heard Jasper's thoughts, and I've left them down there."
"I'll be fine. Go on." I said, waving him out.
Two days later, Jasper almost killed me again. Only this time, there wasn't anything funny about it.